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Friday August 15, 2008Gators in the Olympics - August 15

BEIJING, China

Gator legend Dara Torres (U.S.) took to the pool in Beijing for prelims and semifinals of her individual race, the 50-meter free, qualifying as the No. 1 seed going into finals of Olympic swimming action Saturday. Athletes with ties to the University of Florida were in Summer Olympic swimming, basketball, baseball, track & field and soccer action Friday, Aug. 15.

 

Swimming

Torres produced a 24.27 swim in semifinal action of the 50-meter freestyle Friday evening, qualifying as the No. 1 seed for the final showdown Saturday after clocking a 24.58 third-place preliminary finish Friday morning. Torres, one of the three U.S. womenís team captains, broke the American record in the 50 free with a 24.25 swim in July at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and will set out to surpass the record in the quest for her first individual gold medal of her five-year Olympic tenure Saturday. Finals of the womenís 50-meter freestyle are slated to begin at 10:03 p.m. (EDT) from the Water Cube in Beijing on the final day of indoor Olympic swimming competition Saturday.

 

Ricardo Monasterio (Venezuela) and Gemma Spofforth (Great Britain) were both in action in Friday preliminaries as well, Monasterio clocking in at 15:45.98 in the menís 1,500-meter free event, good for a 33rd-place finish overall, while Spofforth swam the backstroke leg of the womenís 4x100-meter medley relay prelims for Great Britain. The Great Britain 100 medley relay earned a third-place seed (3:59.14) going into finals of the event as Spofforth contributed a 1:00.33 backstroke split. Spofforth placed fourth in the finals of the 100-meter back with a British Commonwealth and European record with a time of 59.38 and will look to lower her backstroke relay split as finals of the relay commence at 10:40 p.m. (EDT) Saturday.

 

To review other results from Fridayís preliminary and final swimming action, click HERE.

 

 

Women's Basketball

Watching a 19-4 first quarter lead dwindle to just five points at halftime, the defense of the 2008 U.S. Women's Olympic Team (4-0) and former University of Florida All-American DeLisha Milton-Jones buckled down in the second half while its offense heated up to help the red, white and blue roll to a 93-55 win over Spain (2-2) Friday night at Wukesong Arena in Beijing, China.

 

Milton-Jones played five minutes and collected one steal in the victory.

 

With four wins, the USA has secured a quarterfinal berth regardless of the outcome of its final preliminary round game against New Zealand at 10:15 p.m. (10:15 a.m. EDT, live on NBC and NBC HD) on Aug. 17.

 

For details about Team USA's victory over Spain, click HERE

 

 

Baseball

Playing for the first time under the new extra-innings rule for Olympic competition, Cuba scored twice in the top of the 11th inning with the U.S. only able to plate one run in the bottom half, giving Cuba a 5-4 victory over the U.S. Olympic Baseball Team on Friday afternoon at the Wukesong Main Field.

 

Cuba improves to 3-0 in the 2008 Olympics, and the loss drops the U.S. to 1-2 after the first three days. The U.S. continues competition on Saturday morning against Canada with first pitch set for 10:30 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. EDT on Friday night) at Field 2. Batting sixth and playing left field, former Gator Matt LaPorta went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.

 

 

Soccer

It took just over four hours, but the U.S. defeated Canada for the fifth time in 2008, a 2-1 overtime victory in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Olympics.

Former Gator All-American Heather Mitts made her fourth consecutive start of the 2008 Olympic Games on the U.S. backline, playing the entire 120 minutes.

After 21 minutes, the U.S. led 1-0. The match was suspended for approximately 90 minutes due to weather before play resumed. Canada quickly tied the match and it took until the first overtime period before the U.S. could break through. With the victory the U.S. advances to the semifinals and will face the winner of China-Japan currently in progress. 

Track and Field

 

Former Florida sprinter Kerron Clement (LaPorte, Texas) won his heat in the first round of the menís 400-meter hurdles on Friday at National Stadium in Beijing.

 

Clement, participating in the first Olympic Games of his career, advances to the semifinals of the event, which are scheduled for 9:15 a.m. ET Saturday.† His time of 49.42 that won him the fourth heat of the first round was the 11th-best time overall in the 400 hurdle preliminaries.

 

ďI just wanted to control the race and thatís what I did from start to finish,Ē Clement said. ďIím in the best shape of my life right now. Itís my first Olympics and I ran very well. Now I just have to focus on the next round.Ē

 

Former Gator Hazel Clark (Livingston, N.J.) was unable to advance out of her heat in the womenís 800-meter run, finishing fifth in the heat in a time of 2:01.59. Clark was competing in her third Olympic Games, after participating in the 2000 Sydney Games and the 2004 Athens Games.

 

Current Gator thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili (Tbilisi, Georgia) and former Florida thrower Kristin Heaston (Walnut Creek, Calif.) each saw their Olympic bids come up short on Friday in the womenís shot put. Heaston finished 14th in her qualifying group with a toss of 56-10.75/17.34m, while Kevkhishvili was 15th in her qualifying group with a throw of 52-5.50/15.99m.

 

2008 Gator Medal Count: 6† †(2 Gold, 1 Silver, 3 Bronze) 

Gator

Country

Sport

Event

Time

Medal

Caroline Burckle

U.S.

Swimming

800-meter free relay

7:46.33

Bronze

Ryan Lochte

U.S.

Swimming

200-meter back

1:53.94

Gold

Ryan Lochte

U.S.

Swimming

800-meter free relay

6:58.56

Gold

Ryan Lochte

U.S.

Swimming

200-meter IM

1:56.53

Bronze

Ryan Lochte

U.S.

Swimming

400-meter IM

4:08.09

Bronze

Dara Torres

U.S.

Swimming

400-meter free relay

3:34.33

Silver

 

 

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